New fertility breakthrough?

Has there been a breakthrough or are we still a long way off?

These lab-grown human eggs could combat infertility-if they prove healthy

In an advance that could lead to new fertility treatments, researchers have coaxed immature human egg cells to fully develop in the lab for the first time. Still unclear is whether the resulting eggs, which reached maturity in just 22 days, compared with 5 months in the body, are normal and whether they can combine with sperm to make a healthy embryo.

The feat nonetheless is "extraordinarily important," says Kyle Orwig, a stem cell biologist at the Magee-Womens Research Institute at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania who was not involved in the new work.

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Human eggs developed in lab for first time ever

"Breakthrough as human eggs developed in the lab for first time," The Guardian reports.

A woman's ovaries contain all the eggs she will ever have in her life from the time of birth. These are undeveloped egg cells contained within immature ovarian follicles (tiny structures found in the ovaries). Every month, once a woman starts her periods, female hormones make these follicles and egg cells mature.

This study aimed to see whether it was possible to take ovarian tissue and then complete this process in the laboratory. The researchers showed that it was possible to take the earliest stage follicles and mature some of them right through to the point where they could produce fully developed egg cells.

This is a valuable breakthrough and could have great potential in the future, particularly to preserve fertility in young girls who need to have cancer treatment. Ovarian tissue could be frozen and then egg cells matured for in vitro fertilisation (IVF) at a later date.

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It took 30 years, but scientists finally grew mature human eggs outside the body

Ovaries are the best incubators known to womankind-chemically nurturing and pruning human eggs until they're fully mature and ready to be fertilized. Scientists have never quite been able to recreate the process.

But after 30 years of work, researchers at the University of Edinburgh in the UK have found a way to grow fully mature eggs outside the human body. In a lab setting, they coaxed immature eggs to grow to the point where they'd be ready to be fertilized.

"Apart from any clinical applications, this is a big breakthrough in improving understanding of human egg development," Evelyn Telfer, a developmental biologist and coauthor of the paper, told the BBC.

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